Thursday, October 8, 2009

Right Wing Hit List Extends From ACORN To SEIU

Having conducted a campaign against ACORN, the Republicans are now employing guilt-by-association against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Consider first the essay by Joe Conason (left), "In defense of ACORN," which offers a more balanced view than the right-wing smears:

Like so many conservative attacks, the crusade against ACORN has been highly exaggerated and even falsified to create a demonic image that bears little resemblance to the real organization...

...ACORN's troubles should be considered in the context of a history of honorable service to the dispossessed and impoverished. No doubt it was fun to dupe a few morons into providing tax advice to a "pimp and ho," but what ACORN actually does, every day, is
help struggling families with the Earned Income Tax Credit [and] help those same working families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.

...Over the past several years, a handful of ACORN employees have admitted falsifying names and signatures on registration cards, in order to boost the pay they received. When ACORN officials discovered those cases, they informed the state authorities and turned in the miscreants. ...The proportion of fraud is infinitesimal. ...They had completed fewer than two dozen false registrations -- out of more than a million new voters registered by ACORN during that cycle.

ACORN has pledged to institute reforms, with the appointment of a distinguished outside panel to oversee that process.

Following the portrait painted by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh of ACORN as a criminal enterprise, the right is now turning on the Service Employees International Union:

...The state Republican organizations in Virginia and Kansas are urging various Democratic candidates to give back contributions they received from the service employees, insisting that the union is badly tarnished because it has given millions of dollars to Acorn and has been intertwined with that group in many ways.

...The Republicans are taking the offensive against one of the Democrats’ most powerful allies. The service employees are the nation’s most politically potent union, having spent more than $80 million in last year’s political campaigns, and the nation’s fastest growing, with nearly two million members, many of them janitors and health care workers.

Union officials say the Republicans are resorting to guilt through association, saying they have done nothing wrong. They say they have suspended all activities with Acorn pending the results of an investigative audit.

Do the Republicans want ACORN to register one million new voters? They know that economically disadvantaged registrants will not vote for the party working against their interests. Similarly, do the Republicans want SEIU to continue its political activism? SEIU is doubly offensive for its very existence as a labor union. The Republicans are resorting to a campaign of distortion in order to take out two groups that have long been in their cross hairs.

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